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*[[Es'Tau]]<sup>2</sup>, settled during the Second Expansion.
*[[Es'Tau]]<sup>2</sup>, settled during the Second Expansion.
*[[T'ros]]<sup>3</sup>, settled during the Third Expansion.
*[[T'ros]]<sup>3</sup>, settled during the Third Expansion.
*[[Sha'draig]] - invaded by Gorgon in 900.M41. Gorgon was eventually driven off the world, but not before it was almost completely consumed by [[Ripper]] swarms.<sup>6</sup>
*[[Sha'draig]] - invaded by [[Gorgon (Hive Fleet)|Hive Fleet Gorgon]] in 900.M41. Gorgon was eventually driven off the world, but not before it was almost completely consumed by [[Ripper]] swarms.<sup>6</sup>
*[[Ka'mais]] - invaded by [[Gorgon (Hive Fleet)|Gorgon]] in 902.M41. A hidden [[Necron]] fleet emerged from Ka'kais' dead moon and destroyed the outnumbered Tyranid ships, but then continued to land on Ka'mais and harvest the planet.<sup>6</sup>
*[[Ka'mais]] - invaded by Hive Fleet Gorgon in 902.M41. A hidden [[Necron]] fleet emerged from Ka'kais' dead moon and destroyed the outnumbered Tyranid ships, but then continued to land on Ka'mais and harvest the planet.<sup>6</sup>
*[[Ho'sarn]] -  was evacuated in 902.M41 as Gorgon approached. But the evacuation fleet was ambushed by the Hive Fleet and completely slaughtered.<sup>6</sup>
*[[Ho'sarn]] -  was evacuated in 902.M41 as Hive Fleet Gorgon approached. But the evacuation fleet was ambushed by the Hive Fleet and completely slaughtered.<sup>6</sup>
==Non-Tau Worlds==
==Non-Tau Worlds==

Revision as of 20:13, 7 April 2011

Tau Empire
Capital: T'au
Official languages: Tau Lexicon
Head of state: Aun'Va, Master of the
Undying Spirit
Governing body: Ethereals
State religious body: Greater Good
Major Species: Tau, Kroot, Vespid
Minor Species: Nicassar, Demiurg,
Human (Gue'vesa)
Military forces

Fire Warriors (Fire caste)
Kor'vattra (Tau Navy, Air Caste)
Tau Allies (Kroot, Vespid, Gue'vesa)

Targetdrone.gif This article is about the political body; for the Codex, see Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition).

The Tau empire is a rapidly expanding empire situated inside of the Ultima Segmentum, near the Eastern Fringe. Founded by the Ethereals, who lead the Tau empire in the name of the Greater Good. Several alien races (Kroot, Vespid, Nicassar, Demiurg) have allied themselves with the Tau.

The Tau empire borders the Imperium, and lies within the reach of the Astronomican. It has suffered many raids from the Orks, and also seems to lie in the path of several splinter fleets of Hive Fleet Kraken.


The Tau Empire

The exact date of founding of the Tau empire is unclear, however the reasons behind the foundation are. In their prehistory, the Tau lived in tribes on the desert plains, hunting and gathering their food. As their race aged, they expanded to all environments. The Tau of the plains became strong and skillful hunters, larger and stronger than most other Tau. The Tau of the mountains developed the ability to soar high above the baking deserts on thermals. The Tau of the river valleys developed agriculture and metallurgy, forming the first true settlements. The development of settlements led to the need of trade, and wandering Tau began to negotiate and mediate between the disparate tribes.

Growing pains, caused by their unusually rapid technological development led to the invention of sophisticated weaponry. The Tau of the river valleys developed stone fortresses and crude blackpowder weapons to ward off the aggressive Tau of the plains. These fledgling skirmishes led to the darkest period in Tau history, the Mont'au.

The numerous wars that broke out lasted for years. Each year thousands died as squalid conditions and lack of access to fresh food and water created a plague that killed more Tau than were dying in the wars. The Tau were on the verge of wiping themselves out.

Tau Planets

During this time, the Tau legends tell of the first appearance of Ethereals at Fio'taun. The fortress city of Fio'taun was under assault by the warriors from the plains. Though negotiation had been attempted, the fierce plains warriors would settle for nothing less than the annhilliation of the city of Fio'taun. For five long years the inhabitants held off the savage assaults with their thick walls and plentiful cannon. However, disease and starvation began to take their toll. As the tide of the siege turned, two mysterious Tau appeared. One made his way into the camp of the plains Tau, exuding a quiet authority that no Tau was able to resist. Soon, the leader of the plains warriors was persuaded to parley with the Tau of Fio'taun. Similarly, the other mysterious Tau made his way deep into the fortress. Within a few short hours, the gates stood wide open, and the Tau stood ready to talk.

The Ethereals spoke of the importance of peace and understanding between all Tau. They described a Greater Good that each Tau must strive towards. The besiegers and the besieged quickly agreed with the Ethereals and a truce was reached. Across the land, Ethereals emerged, each with the same quiet authority and message of harmony and cooperation. With the Tau united, a great civilization began.

The Tau empire soon expanded its border through a series of Expansion Phases. The Tau empire has gone through 3 phases of expansion already. These phases are a period of several Tau military campaigns during which nearby worlds are colonized, conquered, or sometimes peacefully persuaded to join the Greater Good.

Aun'Va, the current leader of the Tau Empire.

Therefore, apart from the star systems of the Tau, which are called Septs, the empire also includes the worlds and star systems belonging to the Kroot, Vespid, and the Nicassar. It is currently unknown if the Demiurg are full members, allies, or mere trading partners. The empire is composed by over twenty fully developed septs and around one hundered settled worlds, but the exact number and most of their names are unknown to us.

A known splinter faction are the Farsight Enclaves. Also, more recently some worlds and star systems of the Imperium have been conquered by the Tau forces, while a handful have seceded and pledged their allegiance to the Tau empire.

At some point, the Tau sent an expeditionary force to the planet Malbrede where they came into conflict with the Ultramarines Chapter in 936.M41. However, the world proved to be cursed when their fighting awakened the sleeping Necrons from their tomb beneath the surface. In an effort to combat this threat, the Tau and the Ultramarines combined forces to defeat the Necrons. Once the conflict was over, the Tau were allowed to evacuate their forces by Marneus Calgar who proceeded to destroy Malbrede through an Exterminatus.5

In 966.M41, the Tau fought against the Adeptus Astartes of the Space Wolves Chapter during the War for Kvarium Alpha. On that water clogged world, drop pods landed deep in the oceans where their occupants made a move to engage their enemy. On the surface, the battle was fought between the two sides with an equally deadly conflict erupting in the depths of the sea between the Space Wolves and Tau Battlesuits. Thunderhawk Gunships were used to great effect against Hammerhead tanks and Manta gunships with torpedoes, prop-bombs and missiles being used against the Tau. Ultimately, the Space Wolves proved to be the victor in the conflict where hundreds of Tau and Space Wolf corpses floated to the surface. With their mission complete, the Space Wolves made the long trek back to land across the sea bed.4

Hive Fleet Gorgon

Main article: Gorgon (Hive Fleet)

The Tau Empire was invaded by Hive Fleet Gorgon in 899.M41. Gorgon was exceptional for its ability to quickly adapt on a biological level to new circumstances of battle, such as evolving immunities to Tau weaponry. This rapid pace of adaptation may have been unique to Gorgon, or it may have been a response to conflict with the Tau, who are also highly adaptable but on a technological level. Combined forces of the Tau and the Imperial Guard destroyed Gorgon in 903.M41, albeit after losing several trading partners and colony worlds.6


Main article: Greater Good

Each race within the Tau empire, has a unique and different society. However all races have one common belief in the Greater Good. The Greater Good, or Tau'va (Tau), is the founding principle of Tau society. The Tau'va system is based on Castes and is designed to allow for the advancement of the entire Tau society together towards a more successful, prosperous and easier existence in the future.


Tau society is centred around the concept of the Greater Good, where individual Tau sacrifice personal gain in favour of benefiting the Tau race as a whole. It is from this philosophy that the Tau's all-purpose motto, "For the Greater Good!", is derived. The castes, although different in role and organisation, work together for the benefit of all Tau: the Earth caste provide and produce, the Water caste communicate and distribute, the Air caste connect the worlds of the Tau Empire, and the Fire caste protect. The external image of the Tau is that they are altruistic and idealistic, believing in the unification of all "for the Greater Good".


Kroot society is divided into tribes, known as Kindreds. Each Kindred is an extended family group of Kroot and is led by a Shaper, one Kroot with an intuitive understanding of the DNA absorption process all Kroot possess, and responsible for guiding the evolution of their Kindred. The Shaper, upon identifying a beneficial genetic trait, will instruct his Kindred to hunt and consume that animal, and then control the breeding of the Kindred to ensure that the offspring are born with the selected trait. Often, Kindreds will band together, and the Shapers will form a Council, of which the most influential Kindred's Shaper will be made leader of the group. On rare occasions, a Chief will unite a large number of Kindreds underneath him.

Kroot dwell in warm, temperate conditions on the worlds they inhabit, and construct large tree houses from animal hides, bound together by regurgitated dead wood. Some Kindreds reside in the ruins of the hive cities. There has been no obvious industry on Pech since the coming of the Orks, but Tau Research Teams have detected strange energy emissions, emanating from a collection of hills near their base.

A Vespid warrior.

The consumption of flesh is one of the key tenets of Kroot spirituality, as it is believed that the consumption of prey imparts the 'spirit' of the prey to the Kroot, which is then passed on to the Kroot's children. This is the average Kroot's understanding of their rapid evolution, with 'spirit' as a substitute for 'genetic trait'. As a part of this, the Kroot believe that when a warrior dies, his spirit should be kept safe by the Kindred. They will consider it their responsibility to consume the bodies of their dead foes, along with their own fallen and elders.


The Vespid warriors, called Stingwings, form tactical units referred to as Strains. Each Strain is lead by a Strain leader.1 Because the Vespid language is so complex (presumably because of their complex mouths) and only the Strain Leaders are given the apparatus to translate their language to their Tau allies, Vespid Strains are very close knit and a lot of reliance on Strain Leaders come from both sides.

Stingwing Strains are highly sought after in Tau Fire Warrior Cadres because of their high level of maneuverability. They are often used by Tau commanders alongside Crisis Battlesuits or used in a scouting role, backing up Pathfinders. In the Tau language they are referred to as "Mal'kor," which comes from "Mal" meaning insect and "kor" meaning air.

Gue'vesa soldiers

Human (Gue'vesa)

The Tau Empire hosts a growing population of Humans or Gue'vesa (Tau) who were once a part of the Imperium of Man. Ranging from ideological defectors to captured guardsmen and their children, they have been incorporated into the empire. While the Humans from recently conquered worlds are often bitter, they do have Tau supporters among them from the start, and the number of those only grows larger. For the most part, the Humans are content and treated well, even being allowed to worship the God Emperor.


Tau Fire Warrior

Tau ground warfare is carried out almost exclusively by the Fire caste, while the Air caste is responsible for aerial and space combat, and providing transport between systems. Fire caste military forces are known as Hunter Cadres, are similar in size and role to an Imperial Guard company, and are primarily made up of Tau from the same sept. Auxiliary forces are drawn from the alien races within the Tau Empire, and Hunter Cadres can include Kroot warriors, Vespid Stingwings, and Gue'vesa, among other forces.

The Tau prefer long ranged combat over close combat. The Tau Fire Warrior's primary weapon is the Pulse Rifle, which is used alongside the Pulse Carbine. The Pulse Rifle fires energetic particles which quickly breaks down and is projected as a "pulse" of superheated plasma. The Pulse Carbine, also carried by Fire Warrior teams, sacrifices range for portability, but also carries an underslung Photon Grenade Launcher. Squads hit by the Pulse Carbine also risk being disabled by Photon Grenades. The Photon Grenades not only release a powerful burst of light but also a sonic shockwave, used to disable the target and in some cases it is rumured to cause bowel problems in enemy troopers, much to the discomfort of those fighting the Tau. As the Tau Empire integrate more and more alien races, they use them more and more in their tactics. Often small alien squads will be used as bait in the Kauyon, though it is important to note that bait squads are not considered expendable but rather dependent on the effectiveness of their cover fire.

When the Tau become engaged in close combat, they call on their mercenary allies, the Kroot. The Kroot are expert jungle fighters who appear deceptively slender.

Tau Septs

The Tau empire, centred upon the world of T'au

Each sept has its unique cultural identity wholly integrated within the greater Tau culture. This cultural identity seems to mainly derive from which Tau caste is more numerous and influential in the given sept. Currently there are over twenty fully developed septs. Each sept has its own sept symbol.


  • T'au, homeworld of the Tau. Capital and spiritual, political, cultural, and administrative centre of the Tau empire. Its citizens are considered especially learned and wise.
  • Pech, homeworld of the Kroot.
  • Vespid, homeworld of the Vespid.

First Phase Expansion

The Tau homeworld and the First phase colonies are of major importance and form the hub of the empire.

  • Tau'n, first offworld colony, Tau from this world are considered to be pioneers.
  • D'yanoi, having been isolated for a time from the empire, its inhabitants are considered somewhat rustic and backwards.
  • Bork'an, centre of learning and academia.
  • Dal'yth, cosmopolitan and trader-friendly.
  • Fal'shia, centre of technological development, Tau from here are considered great problem solvers.
  • Vior'la, a major military centre of the empire, its Fire warriors are considered especially aggressive and skilled.
  • Sa'cea, another military center, this sept has a very high proportion of very disciplined and honourable Fire Warriors.

Second Phase Expansion

The Second Phase Expansion began shortly after the end of the Damocles Crusade (742.M41). Of note is the command of Commander Farsight during this period.

  • Au'taal, a beautiful sept, whose citizens are considered easygoing and often lazy.
  • N'dras was abandoned for unclear reasons. Its remaining inhabitants are regarded as unstrustworthy, quick-tempered, and of brooding countance.
  • Ke'lshan has suffered several raids by several alien races. Tau from this sept have grown mistrustful, solemn, taciturn, unfriendly and sometimes openly hostile to alien races. Ke'lshan was invaded by Hive Fleet Gorgon and played an essential role in stopping it 6.
  • Elsy'eir is known for its poetry and artwork. Its citizens are considered intellectuals and well respected for their creativness.
  • Tash'var was raided several times by Orks and pirates. Its people are regarded as tenacious, hardy, practical and courageous.
  • Vash'ya seems to be primarly inhabited by members of the Air caste.
  • T'olku is known for the skill of its Etheral diplomats.

Third Phase Expansion

The Third Phase Expansion was convened on 977.997.M41 on the word of Aun'va.1 Commander Shadowsun was placed in command, and has secured at least two new septs for the Tau Empire. During the Zeist Campaign of 999.M41, Space Marines forces counterattacked against the expanding Third Sphere, drawing the Third Sphere to a, perhaps temporary, halt. Two recognized septs from the Third Sphere Expansion are:

  • Ksi'm'yen's colonists seem to be associated with luck, subtlety and opportunistic subterfuge.
  • Fi'rios whose pioneers are recognized for a tenacious refusal to accept defeat, tempered by a stoic acceptance of the price all must pay in the furtherance of the Greater Good.

Smaller Tau worlds

Besides the populous septs, there are also sparsely populated colonies. Only a few names are known.

  • Me'lek2
  • Es'Tau2, settled during the Second Expansion.
  • T'ros3, settled during the Third Expansion.
  • Sha'draig - invaded by Hive Fleet Gorgon in 900.M41. Gorgon was eventually driven off the world, but not before it was almost completely consumed by Ripper swarms.6
  • Ka'mais - invaded by Hive Fleet Gorgon in 902.M41. A hidden Necron fleet emerged from Ka'kais' dead moon and destroyed the outnumbered Tyranid ships, but then continued to land on Ka'mais and harvest the planet.6
  • Ho'sarn - was evacuated in 902.M41 as Hive Fleet Gorgon approached. But the evacuation fleet was ambushed by the Hive Fleet and completely slaughtered.6

Non-Tau Worlds

During the First phase expansion the homeworlds and colonies of the Kroot and of the Vespid were also incoporated into the Tau empire. Notice that these star systems are not considered septs. In addition there an unknown number of former Imperial worlds in the Tau Empire, such as T'ros. Some or all of which might still have a Human population.

  • Pech, homeworld of the Kroot. According to the maps there are eight star systems inhabited by the Kroot (including Pech). We know solely the name of Krath, where the Tau first encountered the Kroot.
  • Vespid, homeworld of the Vespid.
  • Roksh XVI - site of a secret Tau listening post, the planet was part of the Roksh system that was home to the Rokshashi Wealthweb merchant guild before the entire system was consumed by Gorgon in 689902.M41.6

Artefact worlds

Three Artefact worlds are located within the borders of the Tau empire. As the name indicates, ancient artefacts of unknown origin have been discovered there. It is not known if these worlds have Tau colonies at all.

Farsight Enclaves

The only known breakaway faction of the Tau empire are the Farsight Enclaves. These worlds are led by Commander Farsight and were conquered from the Imperium during the Second Phase Expansion. These enclaves have less regard for (or a non-standard interpretation of) the Tau'va. Most of their names are unknown.


Worlds of the Galaxy
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Chaos Daemon WorldHell ForgeFallen Knight World
Xenos Xenos WorldExodite WorldTomb WorldMaiden WorldCrone WorldOrk WorldTau SeptCraftworld